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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: English, Irish

Where did the English Godfrey family come from? What is the English Godfrey family crest and coat of arms? When did the Godfrey family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Godfrey family history?

The history of the name Godfrey begins with the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is derived from the baptismal name for the son of Godfrey. Baptismal names were a form of patronymic surnames, and came from either the religious or vernacular given name traditions. In this case, the patronym was adopted from the personal name of the bearers father.


The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Godfrey has been recorded under many different variations, including Godfrey, Godfry, Godfrie, Godfree, Godfery, Godkin and many more.

First found in Kent. One of the first records of the name was Henricus filius Godefrid who was listed in the Pipe Rolls taken during the reign of King Henry II (1154-1189.) [1] It is generally believed that he was related to William Godefridus of Normandy listed in a census there taken 1180-1198. [2] However, the Godfrey variant had many early references including Godfrey the Bearded (c.?997-1069); and his son, Godfrey IV, Duke of Lower Lorraine (died 1706), known as the Hunchback who was assassinated in Vlaardingen; Godfrey of Bouillon (c. 1060-1100), a medieval Frankish knight, one of the leaders of the First Crusade, Godfrey of Cambrai, the prior of Winchester Abbey from 1082 until his death in 1107; and Godfrey (died 1088), medieval Bishop of Chichester.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Godfrey research. Another 197 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1666, 1273, 1622, 1678, 1648, 1714, 1641, 1797 and are included under the topic Early Godfrey History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 81 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Godfrey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Godfrey family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 229 words(16 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Godfrey or a variant listed above:

Godfrey Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Edward Godfrey who settled in Maine in 1630
  • Peter Godfrey, who arrived in New England in 1631
  • Jo Godfrey, aged 21, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Richard Godfrey who settled in Virginia in 1652
  • Elias Godfrey, who arrived in Maryland in 1662

Godfrey Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Vincent Godfrey, who landed in Virginia in 1701
  • Mary Godfrey, who arrived in Virginia in 1701
  • Fra Godfrey, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • William Godfrey, who arrived in America in 1765
  • Sarah Godfrey, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1773

Godfrey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Wm Godfrey, who arrived in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1806
  • Thomas Godfrey, who landed in New York, NX in 1815
  • Margaret Godfrey, aged 65, landed in New York, NY in 1816
  • Kemp Godfrey, who arrived in New York, NY in 1834
  • Edward Godfrey, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840

Godfrey Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Richard Godfrey, who arrived in Canada in 1832
  • Newcomb Godfrey, who landed in Canada in 1834

Godfrey Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Godfrey, English convict from Devon, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on July 3, 1822, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • Thomas Godfrey, English convict from Bristol, who was transported aboard the "America" on April 4, 1829, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Elizabeth Godfrey arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince George" in 1838
  • John Godfrey, English convict from Somerset, who was transported aboard the "Agincourt" on July 6, 1844, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • W. Godfrey arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Elizabeth" in 1849

Godfrey Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Edward Lee Godfrey landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1841
  • Henry Godfrey landed in Nelson, New Zealand in 1842 aboard the ship Geo Fife
  • Henry Godfrey, aged 17, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "George Fyfe" in 1842
  • Henry Godfrey, aged 47, a ploughman, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alma" in 1857
  • Antionette Godfrey arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Nimroud" in 1860


  • Daniel Strong Godfrey (b. 1949), American composer
  • Arthur Morton Godfrey (1903-1983), American Peabody Award winning radio and television broadcaster
  • Thomas Godfrey (1704-1749), American optician and inventor of the octant
  • Brigadier-General Stuart Chapin Godfrey (1886-1945), American Commanding Officer, Aviation Engineering Training Center, Geiger Field, Washington (1945)
  • Sir Dan Godfrey (1868-1939), English conductor
  • Tommy Godfrey (1916-1984), English film and television actor
  • Laurence Paul Godfrey (b. 1976), English Olympic archer
  • Peter Ronald Godfrey (b. 1938), English former professional association football player
  • Bob Godfrey (b. 1921), Australian born, British animation producer/director who won the Academy Award for his musical feature "Great"
  • Richard Timothy Godfrey (1945-2003), British art historian



The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Deus et libertas
Motto Translation: God and liberty.


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  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)

Other References

  1. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  2. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  3. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  4. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  5. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  6. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  7. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  8. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  9. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  10. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  11. ...

The Godfrey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Godfrey Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 8 January 2015 at 12:49.

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